By Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest
Above the strains: a whole checklist of the Fighter Aces of the German Air carrier, Naval Air carrier and Flanders Marine Corps 1914-1918
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Additional resources for Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of the German Air service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914-1918
The truce meant time off for weary soldiers, providing them with an opportunity to move about in the lines without fear of snipers, rebuild their trenches, and enjoy Christmas as best they could under the circumstances, as well as a chance to satisfy their curiosity about the enemy and write home about something besides the endless mud and shelling. The holiday cease-fire became a valued memory for the participants, as demonstrated by the way it was discussed in letters written by the soldiers, fondly recalled years later in interviews and memoirs describing their service, and featured in many regimental histories.
Although not all these letters were completely forthright about the war—there were examples printed from soldiers who were anxious to get to the front before the conflict reached an untimely end, and missives that echoed such blithe phrases as “But are we downhearted? ”—the majority of soldiers’ writings included in the “Letters from the Front” columns presented sober and detailed descriptions of the realities of war. Through these letters, the British public was able to catch glimpses of the horrors of the conflict beyond the military’s heavily censored and often fantastical accounts.
As a result, their service was generally motivated by reasons other than hatred of the opposing side, as opposed to the attitudes of at least some of the men who enlisted once the war had started. ). Though both the Germans and French were subject to conscription, the armies who were sent to the front during the early winter of 1914 were composed mainly of men who were in service before the war began, as it took time to train and equip those who joined or were drafted at the beginning of the conflict.